January 2014
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Mecca Hills Painted Canyon / Ladder Canyon Hike

Early this morning Jacob and myself made our way out to the desert. It is officially Jacobs eighteenth birthday and we were going to be hiking in the Mecca Hills. The Mecca Hills were formed by the convergence of the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate along the San Andreas Fault. It sounded like an appropriate venue for someone leaving “childhood” and moving into being an “adult”. One could say, there is a lot of pressure on the move, a little like on a fault line. So back to the morning drive.

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Once we arrived we met up with Jacobs Venturing Crew. They were running behind so we did a little geocaching. That gave us the opportunity to see a few different areas. Soon enough we were hiking up Pained Canyon towards the split for Ladder Canyon.

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Once we found the large arrow made by placing small rocks in the sand, we knew it was time to go left. We made our way up Ladder Canyon. This canyon is a slot canyon that is not very wide. There are a few places that require ladders to get from one level to the next as you make you way up the canyon.

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In a few places the ladders were partially buried in the sand and did not reach high enough. In those situations it required a little climbing. Those below are waiting their turn to climb up to the next level.

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Once we reached the top we had great views of of the desert around us. We could see over the Mecca Hills to the Salton Sea in the distance.

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We then made our way north across the trail until we reached the spot where we dropped down into Painted Canyon. They area was extremely dry as was evidenced by the stressed plants. In Painted Canyon, there were several different colored rock formations as well as the obvious look of extreme geological stress.

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What did not look stressed was Jacob reading a book while the others took a break.

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It was a great hike. We followed up with a trip to In-N-Out Burger as we made our way back home. We realized that we missed several geocaches on the top that we will need to go back and get. This will be something we do soon before it gets hot.


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